What's Up

Monthly summary of astronomical highlights

Be sure to rug up nice and warm when out and about under the stars as winter is upon us. The longest night of the year is on the 22nd of this month. The central bulge region of the Milky Way centred around Scorpio and Sagittarius is at opposition this month, meaning it will be visible all night long. Perfect for taking photos or visually checking out the many delights of this stellar packed region.

The nights continue to get longer and the temperature continues to drop so be sure to rug up well when out under the stars. The summer Milky Way constellations around Orion are low in the west at the start of the night and will soon be too close to the Sun for observation until later in the year. As Orion sets look to the west and you will see the Scorpion rising meaning that the central bulge of the Milky Way is close to coming into opposition making the next few months an ideal time to photograph or observe this rich region of the night sky all night long.

There is certainly a crispness to the nights now with Autumn in full swing. The nights continue to get longer and the layers of clothing required increases. With Orion getting lower in the West at the start of the night and Scorpius rising in the East late evening it is a good time to get out of our own galaxy and try to observe or image some of the numerous galaxies around the constellations of Leo and Virgo which are high in the sky at the start of the night. Highlights of this region include the Sombrero Galaxy and The Leo Triplet.

It is the start of Autumn and that hopefully means many cool crisp and clear nights for observing or taking images.

Being the month of the autumnal equinox where the Sun is halfway between its Summer and Winter positions, halfway through the night we see the Summer constellations of Orion and Taurus setting in the west and the Winter constellations of Scorpius and Sagittarius rising in the east.